Category: books (page 5 of 6)

Blogmas 2016 – Day 1 – My December TBR

Hey, i’m taking part in Blogmas 2016 which is a fab daily blogging challenge created and run by The Book Moo

What do i have to do?

Well, basically you have to blog every day in December using a list of prompts

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I really love these kinds of challenges and i really, really want to complete it but we’ll see. Only time will tell.

So Day 1 is a post about my December TBR is it?  Now I have so much trouble with TBR being a mood reader but here are 4 books I really hope to get read this month

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The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper – This would be a re-read and probably only the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Chapters which are so amazingly written! God, this book gives me the warm and fuzzies for sure!
Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland – I’ve already started this and its really well written so I’m hoping to finish it soon.
What Light by Jay Asher – Sounds a nice gentle Christmas read and one i’m really in the mood for right now.
Fantastic Beasts by J.K. Rowling – Wow! this is one I cant wait to read, but also can’t bear to read because a magical book by the queen of Magical books herself does not come along very often nowadays so i want to sip it slowly and make it last.

I’m currently reading this which I forgot to add to the photo (good work me!)

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It’s just the perfect read right now and has recipes in for the season too, what more can you wish for?

I’m so looking forward to doing this each day, i wonder how long i will last?

Join in with me and encourage me to stick at it won’t ya?

Happy Blogmas folks!

Joanne M Harris – Runemarks blog tour

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Welcome to my stop on the Runemarks blog tour where I am more than happy to host another extract.

To make sure you read these in the right order you might want to visit Ourfirstyearhere.wordpress.com to read Day 8.

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If you want to read all the previous and future extracts then this will direct you where you need to go. Isn’t the artwork just gorjuss?

Right, down to business

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Blurb

It’s been five hundred years since the end of the world and society has rebuilt itself anew. The old Norse gods are no longer revered. Their tales have been banned. Magic is outlawed, and a new religion – the Order – has taken its place. In a remote valley in the north, fourteen-year-old Maddy Smith is shunned for the ruinmark on her hand – a sign associated with the Bad Old Days. But what the villagers don’t know is that Maddy has skills. According to One-Eye, the secretive Outlander who is Maddy’s only real friend, her ruinmark – or runemark, as he calls it – is a sign of Chaos blood, magical powers and gods know what else… Now, as the Order moves further north, threatening all the Worlds with conquest and Cleansing, Maddy must finally learn the truth to some unanswered questions about herself, her parentage, and her powers.

Day 9 – Extract

MALBRY WAS A VILLAGE OF some eight hundred souls. A quiet place, or so it seemed, set between mountain ridges in the valley of the river Strond, which divided the Uplands from the Wilderlands to the north before finally making its way south towards World’s End and into the One Sea.
The mountains – called the Seven Sleepers, though no one remembered exactly why – were bitter and snow-cloaked all year round, and there was only one pass, the Hindarfell, which was blocked by snow three months in the year. This remoteness affected the valley folk; they kept to themselves, were suspicious of strangers, and (but for Nat Parson, who had once made a pilgrimage as far as World’s End, and who considered himself quite the traveller) had little to do with the world outside.
There were a dozen little settlements in the valley, from Farnley Tyas at the foot of the mountains to Pease Green at the far side of Little Bear Wood. But Malbry was the biggest and the most important. It housed the valley’s only parson, the largest church, the best inns and the wealthiest farmers. Its houses were built of stone, not wood; there was a smithy, a glassworks, a covered market. Its inhabitants thought themselves better than most, and looked down on the folk of Pog Hill or Fettlefields and laughed in secret at their country ways. The only thorn in Malbry’s side stood roughly two miles from the village. The locals called it Red Horse Hill, and most folk avoided it because of the tales that collected there, and for the goblins that lived beneath its flanks.
Once, it was said, there had been a castle on the Hill. Malbry itself had been part of its fiefdom, growing crops for the lord of that land – but all that had been a long time ago, before Tribulation and the End of the World. Nowadays there was nothing to see: only a few standing stones, too large to have been looted from the ruins; and, of course, the Red Horse cut into the clay.
It had long been known as a goblin stronghold. Such places drew them, the villagers said, lured them with promises of treasure and tales of the Elder Age. But it was only in recent years that the Good Folk had ventured as far as the village.
Fourteen years, to be precise; which was exactly when Jed Smith’s pretty wife Julia had died giving birth to their second daughter. Few doubted that the two were linked; or that the rust-coloured mark on the palm of the child’s hand was the sign of some dreadful misfortune to come.
And so it was. From that day forth, that Harvestmonth, the goblins had been drawn to the blacksmith’s child. The midwife had seen them, so she said, perched on the baby’s pinewood crib, or grinning from inside the warming pan, or tumbling the blankets. At first the rumours were scarcely voiced. Nan Fey was mad, just like her old granddam, and it was best to take anything she said with a dose of salt. But as time passed, and goblin sightings were reported by such respectable sources as the parson, his wife Ethelberta and even Torval Bishop from over the pass, the rumours grew and soon everyone was wondering how the Smiths, of all people – the Smiths, who never dreamed, went to church every day and would no more have flung themselves into the river Strond than truckle with the Good Folk – could have given birth to two so very different daughters.
Mae Smith, with her cowslip curls, was widely held to be the prettiest and least imaginative girl in the valley. Jed Smith said she was the image of her poor mother, and it almost broke his heart to see her so, though he smiled when he said it, and his eyes were like stars.
But Maddy was dark, just like an Outlander, and there was no light in Jed’s eyes when he looked at her only an odd kind of measuring look, as if he were weighing Maddy against her dead mother, and finding that he had been sold short.
Jed Smith was not the only one to think so. As she grew older, Maddy discovered that she had disappointed almost everyone. An awkward girl with a sullen mouth, a curtain of hair and a tendency to slouch, she had neither Mae’s sweet nature nor her sweet face. Her eyes were rather beautiful, halfway between grey and gold, but few people ever noticed this, and it was widely believed that Maddy Smith was ugly; a troublemaker; too clever for her own good; too stubborn – or too slack – to change.
Of course folk agreed that it was not her fault she was so brown, or her sister so pretty; but a smile costs nothing, as the saying goes, and if only the girl had made an effort once in a while, or even showed a little gratitude for all the help and free advice she had been given, then maybe she would have settled down.
But she did not. From the beginning Maddy was wild: never laughed; never cried; never brushed her hair; fought with Adam Scattergood and broke his nose; and if that wasn’t already bad enough, showed signs of being clever – disastrous in a girl – with a tongue on her that could be downright rude.
No one mentioned the ruinmark, of course. In fact for the first seven years of her life no one had even explained to Maddy what it meant, though Mae pulled faces and called it your blemish and was surprised when Maddy refused to wear the mittens sent to her father by the village’s charitable – and ever-hopeful – widows.

Someone needed to put things straight with the girl, and at last Nat Parson accepted the unpleasant duty of telling her the facts. Maddy didn’t understand much of it, littered as it was with quotes from the Good Book, but she understood his contempt – and behind it, his fear. It was all there, in the chapter of the Good Book that they called the Book of Tribulation: how after the battle the old gods – the Seer-folk of that time – had been cast into Netherworld; but how in dreams they could still endure, like dandelion seeds on the wind, to enter the minds of the wicked and weak, forever hoping to be reborn . . .
‘And so their demon blood lives on,’ had said the parson, ‘passed from man to woman, beast to beast. And here you are, by no fault of your own, and as long as you say your prayers and remember your place, there’s no reason why you should not lead as worthwhile a life as any of the rest of us, and earn forgiveness at the hand of the Nameless One.’
Now Maddy had never liked Nat Parson. She watched him in silence as he spoke, occasionally lifting her left hand and peering at him insolently through the circle of her thumb and forefinger. Nat itched to slap her, but Laws knew what powers her demon blood had given her, and, he wanted as little to do with the girl as possible. The Order would have known what to do with the child. But this was Malbry, not World’s End, and even such a stickler as Nat knew better than to try to enforce World’s End law so far from the Universal City.
Do – you – understand?’ He spoke loudly and slowly.
Perhaps she was simple, like Crazy Nan Fey. In any case she did not reply, but watched him again through her crooked fingers until at last he sighed and went away.
After that, or so it seemed, Jed Smith’s youngest daughter had grown wilder than ever. She stopped going to church, lived out in Little Bear Wood for days on end, and spent hours at a time talking to herself (or, more likely, to the goblins). And when the other children played jump-stone around the pond, or went to Nat Parson’s Sunday school, Maddy ran off to Red Horse Hill, or pestered Crazy Nan for tales, or, worse still, made up tales about terrible, impossible things that she told the younger ones to give them nightmares.
She was an embarrassment to Mae, who was merry as a blue-jay (and as brainless), and who would have made a brilliant marriage but for her unruly sister. As compensation, Mae was spoiled and indulged far more than was good for her, while Maddy grew up sullen, unregarded and angry.
And sullen and angry she might have remained, but for what happened on Red Horse Hill in the summer of her seventh year.


RUNEMARKS by Joanne M Harris is out now in hardback from Gollancz

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The blog tour continues tomorrow with another extract over at nutpress.co.uk

 

 

Why I can’t read Fantastic Beasts

I bought myself a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them by the incomparable JK Rowling, I mean how could I not get a copy right? It arrived today after much stalking of Postie by me.

It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous book and it shows just how much I wanted it because it’s a hardback and you know i loathe hardback books!


So it’s here, I’ve photographed it, hugged it and then finally sit down to read the damn thing but oh oh!

I couldn’t do it!

Why?

Well it’s coz it’s such a special thing, a book about magic from JKR. It’s been way too long and will probably be way to long before the next one if at all?  So I don’t want it to be over too soon. I want to savour the pleasure I know it’s gonna give me for a while longer yet.

Anyone else feel this way or did you just dive in and gorge on it?

Am I being daft?

A new Stephanie Meyer novel, for adults?

Yes indeedy folks, she has written her first ever novel for us grown ups (did i just admit to being a grown up? not true, not true at all) its called…

The Chemist

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and i’m getting sent a copy on its publication date next month – 8th November *all the cheers and clappings*

but in the meantime I was sent this intriguing package the other day from those splendid people at Little Brown

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  • A set of postcards – always nice
  • a pen shaped like a syringe and there’s a syringe on the cover – really cool tie in
  • a mini torch called a Jazooli! a god damn real, cool, pocket sized torch – Wah!

I never get to be part of these mega cool marketing techniques that other bloggers get (are you detecting sour grapes and a tantrum in the air too?) so its such a thrill for me to get these and know a book is on its way to me.

Mind you I have a confession to make. I have only ever read about 1/3rd of Twilight. Yes, i know what a bad reader I am but vampires just dont float my boat im afraid, its all that pale complexion and blood dripping everywhere (shudders)

Im ready to give her first adult book a good go though.

What have you been reading? Have you read any of her books? what have i missed by being a wuss?

lets chat

 

What Alice Knew by T.A. Cotterell

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This may contain spoilers, so be warned!

I was kindly sent an early proof copy of this by Transworld so I have to thank them, which makes it even harder for me to say that this book was a big disappointment. *sighs loudly*

To be fair it has a cracking opening and the pace was kept up really well to begin with but…..

  1. I felt it was full of too many confusing and un-necessary red herrings and things to put us off the scent of solving the mystery
  2. The mystery seemed to be solved about a 5th of the way in which was a bit off putting
  3. Why did Alice’s husband have to keep denying everything, i dont know the girl, i only chatted to her for a minute, i only went back to her flat to call a cab yada, yada, yada but then cracks on the same page and admits to what he’s done.   What is Alice, a Ninja interrogator or something?

The rest of the book is about how nothing thats been said, admitted to or mentioned is the truth so we are forced to wade through mountains of alibis and lies until the final truth, (we hope) is given as an ending.

For me it lost pace after the initial revelation and i never believed in nor liked either character.

Sorry it just wasnt for me but i’m sure it will still be a big hit when its published in March 2017.

The Last Beginning by Lauren James

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CHEESEFEST!

There i’ve said it. This was one huge cheesefest.

Which means i didnt like it very much, sadly.

Her first book The Next Together was an incredibly clever concept, time travel, time loops, historical love affairs etc. and would have been an award winning novel if it had been written by a more experienced person. Sadly it came out as very tacky and the concepts were wasted with pointless drivel and cheesy love themes.   I lost count of how many times the female character said, and i quote “her toes curled” when he kissed me.  Ugghhh! just NO.

This one though had the means to be a really cool book too but this time it was just tooooooooooooooo predictable. I mean here we have the daughter of the couple above, finding out who her real parents were when she was 16 and her adopted parents just happened to be scientists too and who had created the worlds first time machine!

I mean, i ask you, even a monkey could guess where the book was going, and it did!  I didnt even read past page 62! Somehow it seemed like a waste of my life to continue to the end so i flicked through and I was right.

She also tried to create funny sequences between her main character, the rather strangely named Clove (yes, precisely) and an AI computer character. The humour was somewhat stilted though and felt rather forced. perhaps stick to scientific plots for now eh?

Are there any positives? Yes actually. Her ideas for a YA novel were really on target for originality, I loved in both books the mix of historical and modern day parts which has normally only been done in Adult novels and the covers of both books are scrummy. Hoepfully she will continue to improve as a writer in the future.

Arcadia is bamboozling me

See this book?

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Arcadia by Iain Pears

so many booktubers have read or hauled this recently so I had to give it a go right?

I mean, just look at how bloody gorgeous that cover is! Its a 9 out of 10 for sure (it would have been a 10 out of 10 but for the fact that the first and last letters on each row are kind of blurry? I’m sure this has a valid reason in the plot but damn it makes my eyes go goggly so thats why it dropped a point)

The story sounds so good, listen to the back cover:

April 1960: In the cellar of a professor’s house in Oxford, fifteen-year-old Rosie goes in search of a missing cat – and instead finds herself in a different world.

How cool is that, possible time travel maybe? parallel universe maybe? who knows.

The only problem is that its so damn complicated! I mean, no book should be this much hard work right?

It jumps around like a frog on a pogo stick from one character to another without warning and there are plots within plots and stories within stories and worlds within worlds and i’m sure it’s an amazing book and i wanna just sit down with it and lose myself in the story, i really do.

There is even an iPhone app that you can download which has, i believe excerpts from the book in a kind of timeline but you can actually read them in any order you like too!   Aaagh this is messing with my head.

Right, thats better, I just had to get it out of my system, thanks for reading.

I won’t give up and i’ll read it sometime I swear but if you’ve read this and have any tips as to how to not lose my mind whilst getting all twisty and turny with it then, please let me know.

New Book Sunday

Hello everyone, i am so pleased to report that this week I am lurgy free! Hooray, I hear you cry. Well you probably didnt actually coz i dare say youre not bothered but there you go, thought i’d mention it anyway. *imagine tumbleweed blowing past*

So, lets get back to the business in hand. Books! bliss!

how un-utterably gorgeous is this pile of printed paper?

Books I bought

I makes no apology for up sizing these images to HUGE because they are scrumptious!  I have wanted to own a copy of The Sin Eaters Daughter for ages now. Now i have it in my hands and can cuddle it all day long.

The amount of people saying how awesome Life after Life is has made me want to see what all the fuss is about and now i am beginning to see what they mean, it is epicly good.

Books sent for review

Its thanks to Louise Buckley at Pan MacMillan for The Edge of Dark and Fran Gough at Headline/Tinder Press for The Snow Kimono. Both books are gorgeous.

Right must get back to reading Life after Life, cant hang around here all night.  I’d love it if you shared your weekly/monthly book haul with me by leaving me a comment with a link and ill be over in a jiffy.

Showcase Sunday 95

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week.

Its great to join in with this again thanks to Vicky at books, biscuits and tea

I’ve had a really good week. My blog is getting busier again now that things are gearing up again after the Christmas relax. I may be part of a very cool blog tour this month, just waiting to hear if i’m lucky enough yet plus i’m hoping to take part in a read-a-long of a really good novel i’m currently reading. Hmm that sounds strange don’t it but, it will all become clear later.

I have had such a windfall of books this week so here goes:

books bought:

went a bit mad this week but who can blame me?

books sent for review:

I’ve been really lucky to get sent some of the best books around at the moment. Especially cant wait to read Gabrielle Zevin’s new book, really excited.

Have you read any of my stash? I’d love to know your thoughts if so

p.s. Have you heard about my new blog meme “DO judge a book by it’s cover”? it began yesterday and you can take part right up until Thursday.

See HERE for the guidelines and HERE to join in. I cant wait for you to join me.

World Book Night 2015

This is something very new to me as i wasnt writing this blog a year ago but what a great idea it is.

World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading and books that takes place on 23 April. It sees passionate volunteers give out hundreds of thousands of books in their communities to share their love of reading with people who don’t read regularly or own books. World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers to help give them an equal chance in life.

I have applied to be a volunteer this year and hand out books to those who maybe dont read that much or never have access to books. It’s a fantastic cause and I really hope I am lucky enough to be one of the people chosen for this privilege.

The closing date for applying to become a volunteer is tomorrow, 30th January 2015 so get on over to their site and APPLY NOW

Here are some interesting facts from last year’s World Book Night

12,500 copies of 20 different books, 250,000 books in total, were printed for World BookNight 2014

Of these, 171,702 were given away by Individuals, who each gave out a box of 18 copies of one of our titles

Our 9,179 Individual givers collected their books from 2,453 different library and bookshop Collection Points around the UK and Ireland

Almost 80,000 books were given away in Institutions, including prisons, schools and
colleges, libraries and homeless groups. This represents nearly a third of the total number of books being given away to this audience, compared with a fifth last year

I would be lost without books in my life so I cant imagine what its like for those who dont have access to books or have the time or ability to read as regularly as i do. I would love to be able to hand out books to someone and know it has made their day.

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